thu 25/07/2024

CD: Bastille – VS (Other People's Heartache pt III) | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Bastille – VS (Other People's Heartache pt. III)

CD: Bastille – VS (Other People's Heartache pt. III)

Synth-rockers' concept mixtape offers more heartburn than heartache

Bastille Vs – fruity colour, but where's the flavour?

At least the concept is more catchy than the title, which won’t be tripping off DJing lips. A mixtape intended to let the band flex its (well-concealed?) experimental muscles, this features collaborations with artists from Haim to Angel Haze and MNEK. It promises intriguing new blends of musical colour and texture, but too many songs are characterised by windy, wailing, reverb-heavy synth and vocals.  

“Axe to Grind”, featuring Tyde, is disappointingly blunt-edged, with an attractive palette of voices but no shape. “Torn Apart” is another ragbag of wailing synths and vocals. “Fall Into Your Arms”, a bloodless wash of gliding strings and synth reverb, is presumably intended in the romantic sense, but sounds so insipid you assume the addressee is catching someone who’s fainted away. The most successful combinations are the last two tracks: Angel Haze at least adds a different vocal colour and generic with “Weapon”, a genuinely surprising rap-goth ballad; while “Remains”, featuring a dialogue between the growly soul voice of Rag N Bone man Rory Graham and Dan Smith’s airy pop tone, is a darker, more substantial song with, for once, some purposeful lyrics. Strangely, for a mashups album, perhaps the most characterful track is “Driver”, Bastille’s own work, which has a more gripping, energetic rhythm and some enjoyably melodramatic synths, culminating in moments of real stadium-filling thrills.

Named rather oddly, for a band inhabiting a MOR-ish, vanilla soundworld, after a violent revolution, Bastille have become below-the-line bloggers’ whipping boys for their supposedly anodyne music. Listening to this over again as I stared at the garish, fruity album cover, I couldn’t help thinking they should really be called “Pastille”. This album is a bright round thing promising all kinds of flavour bursts that, after a sugary hit, mainly end up sounding a bit the same.

Overleaf: watch the video for "Torn Apart"

'Fall Into Your Arms' sounds so insipid you assume the addressee is catching someone who’s fainted away


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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I'm gonna have to disagree with this article I was really looking forward to this album and I wasn't disappointed. Bastille definitely took a step out of their comfort zone with VS. as there is a stark difference between this album and their previous one(ATBB), but regardless I still appreciated them trying their hand at a new sound. Some of the cons presented in this article are actually what makes Bastille, Bastille.

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